The Calgary Stampede announced that I was the 2020 Parade Marshal, even though the rodeo and parade had to be cancelled because of COVID-19. Even so, I spent two days straight recording interviews afterward.
“This is the biggest honor of my life,” I repeated in Portuguese and English all day. It was amazing to be able to share my story with television and radio stations in both Canada and Brazil. But it did leave me without a voice!
After the media run came to an end, we were visited by Rocky and Marie Aitken and they came bearing gifts! This is the selfless couple from Clairsholm, Alberta who had already lent us the 1990 Ford Econoline motorhome we used for a support vehicle.
“I brought banana bread for you guys and hay for the horses,” Marie said when they arrived at the horsey B&B we were resting in.
It’s hard to put into words just how much they have helped us during this final ride from Alaska to Calgary. Not only did they lend us this amazing support vehicle to carry water, hay and feed for the horses, they also came to visit us in the Yukon, hosted us at their gorgeous ranch and they always, always, bring us gifts.
“Today you two will eat like we do in Brazil and Argentina,” I said to Rocky and Marie while Clara and I barbecued over charcoal.
It was a wonderful night!
The following day, while Mac and Smokey rested, Marie and Rocky drove us south to see the route we would be trekking down in a few days.
“If it rains a lot, you guys might not get through with the motorhome,” Rocky warned before we got on the gravel Forestry Trunk Road.
My original plan was to ride down the Cowboy Trail. Dotted with ranches and people, it was the perfect antidote for the solitude that has marked much of the journey. Sadly, that plan had to be thrown out the window due to the ongoing health crisis. So, even though this gravel road wasn’t in the best shape, we made the decision to follow it south.
Only 500 kilometers left and this 8-year dream will conclude!